Guest editorial

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Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Article publication date: 18 September 2009



Dennis, N., Larsen, G. and Macaulay, M. (2009), "Guest editorial", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 27 No. 6.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Guest editorial

Article Type: Guest editorial From: Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Volume 27, Issue 6

Arts marketing is rapidly evolving. In recent years it has moved from a somewhat peripheral sub-discipline of marketing towards the centre of academic debate. This can be seen not only in the burgeoning number of text books and journal articles, but also in the growth of special interest groups, seminars and conferences dedicated to the subject. In addition to deepening our understanding of arts marketing, lessons from the arts have been embraced by marketing academics more generally for developing theory in such fields as consumption, market orientation and marketing strategy (Fillis and Rentschler, 2008). Specific examples of such applications to marketing include: the aestheticization of everyday life (Venkatesh and Meamber, 2008), the application of jazz and improvisation to new product development (Moorman and Miner, 1998), strategic marketing planning and marketing orientation (Dennis and Macaulay, 2003, 2007) and Fillis' (2000) analysis of artists' lives including Vincent van Gough, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol and Frank Lloyd Wright, which highlights a number of metaphorical connections to marketing. Such application is very encouraging to see and not only does it provide a different and often more effective way of thinking about common marketing issues, but it also raises awareness of various arts forms and makes a potential contribution to audience development.

This special issue of Marketing Intelligence & Planning showcases the spectrum of inter-disciplinary themes emerging from arts marketing, while also offering a significant contribution to some of the debates that have permeated the discipline in the last decade. In so doing these papers both illuminate and suggest new directions in arts marketing theory and practice.

First, the relationship between marketing and the arts remains an academically lively debate, albeit one with a long history. Extant literature in this area often explores the tensions felt by bringing marketing and the arts together. The papers in this special issue are all notable for the positive position they take. Sarah Thomas, Simon Pervan and Peter Nuttall's paper “Marketing orientation and arts organisations: the case for business sponsorship” demonstrates that a number of different types of market orientations exist in arts organisations and that these are all important in relation to business sponsorship. Interestingly, this paper shows that a market orientation is not necessarily at odds with, or detrimental to the artistic priorities and objectives of an arts organisation.

Like many other marketing disciplines, arts marketing has traditionally applied general marketing theory and practice in an arts context. However, both Ian Fillis and Tabitha White, Anne-Marie Hede and Ruth Rentschler turn this relationship on its head and address the question, what can marketing theory and practice learn from the arts? Ian Fillis' “An evaluation of artistic influences on marketing theory” provides a comprehensive and insightful review of current thought to identify how the world of art can inform marketing theory and practice. Tabitha White, Anne-Marie Hede and Ruth Rentschler's “Lessons from arts experiences for service-dominant logic” focuses specifically on service-dominant logic (SDL). Through an exploration of co-creation and co-production in arts consumption experience, this study extends current thinking on SDL by, for example, identifying a wider set of stakeholders involved in co-production and co-creation, and demonstrating that co-production is not only a component of co-creation, but also that there are synergies and interactions between the two processes.

Service dominant logic and its integral processes of co-creation and co-production have been heralded as a new paradigm in marketing and both themes are evident in Emma Hazelwood, Robert Lawson and Robert Aitken's “An essential guide to audience development” which identifies opinion leaders as being natural “theatre guides” who play an essential role in audience development. “Theatre guides” manifest co-creative processes as the role itself represents a blurring of boundaries between production and consumption. This paper offers research-informed practical guidance to theatre marketers as to how to identify opinion leaders and to work with them in their role as “theatre guides”. Both White, Hede and Rentschler's and Hazelwood, Lawson, Aitken's papers demonstrate that SDL and co-creation are far from theoretical concepts, and are an important part of arts marketing.

The third theme evident in this special issue is the broadening of the definition of the arts. Jianfeng Jiang's paper “Structural determinants of household art expenditure” goes beyond art as a publicly funded endeavour, and investigates the very profitable world of fine art retailing. By examining US census data, Jiang demonstrates that quite a small number of socio-demographic, environmental and marketing variables explain quite a large percentage of variation in household art expenditure. Also within the realm of highly profitable arts, Tony Patterson and Stephen Brown explore the variety of ways that consumers read Harry Potter books.

Patterson and Brown's “Never tickle a sleeping bookworm: how readers devour Harry Potter” work illustrates the kaleidoscopic variety of ways in which art is consumed. The paper argues that consumers actually seek a wide range of benefits from the arts rather than purely aesthetic benefits, and consequently they consume arts in diverse and interesting ways. There is an equally wide range of reasons why people do not consume arts. Pandora L. Kay, Emma Wong and Michael Jay Polonsky's “Marketing cultural attractions: understanding non-attendance and visitation barriers” addresses the question of why people do not attend arts and cultural attractions. This paper identifies a variety of barriers to participation, but more importantly indicates that these barriers are interconnected, thus presenting a more complex picture of non-participation than previously identified.

Underlying both arts marketing theory and practice is arts marketing research. Traditionally informed by fairly limited research usually based on audience surveys, arts marketing academics and practitioners are now adopting methods of enquiry that are, fittingly, more creative. The research methods used within this special issue range from census data analysis (Jiang), through case studies (Pervan) to in-depth interviews (White, Hede and Rentschler) and introspection (Patterson and Brown). Such creative methods are necessary to support the new directions that arts marketers are going in, as they allow for a much deeper insight into the complexities of arts marketing and consumption than the methods that have historically been used.

Finally, it is widely accepted that defining art is a complex philosophical issue which presents a number of challenges for the arts marketer (Carey, 2005). Indeed, Macaulay and Dennis (2006) argue that marketing theory is of limited value to the arts marketer and needs further research and development to align with the complexity of the artistic product. It is evident from this special issue that steps are being taken to overcome the problem of marketing art, with new lines of academic enquiry being explored to challenge current orthodoxy and to build a new knowledge base. Judging by the papers in this special issue and the growing interest in the arts marketing field more generally, the future is bright for both the academic community and, perhaps more importantly, the arts marketing practitioner.

Noel Dennis, Gretchen Larsen, Michael MacaulayGuest Editors


Carey, J. (2005), What Good Are the Arts?, Faber and Faber, London

Dennis, N. and Macaulay, M.J. (2003), “Jazz and marketing planning”, Journal of Strategic Marketing, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 177–86

Dennis, N. and Macaulay, M.J. (2007), “Miles ahead – using jazz to investigate improvisation and market orientation”, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 41 Nos 5/6, pp. 608–23

Fillis, I. (2000), “The endless enigma or the last self portrait – implications for the future of marketing”, in Brown, S. and Patterson, A. (Eds), Imagining Marketing: Art, Aesthetics and the Avant Garde, Routledge, London, pp. 52–72

Fillis, I. and Rentschler, R. (2008), “Exploring metaphor as an alternative marketing language”, European Business Review, Vol. 20 No. 6, pp. 492–514

Macaulay, M.J. and Dennis, N.K. (2006), “Jazz a philosophical problem for marketing”, Marketing Review, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 137–49

Moorman, C. and Miner, A.S. (1998), “The convergence of planning and execution: improvisation in new product development”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 62 No. 3, pp. 1–20

Venkatesh, A. and Meamber, L. (2008), “The aesthetics of consumption and the consumer as an aesthetic subject”, Consumption Markets and Culture, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 45–70

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